Patriots Roundtable: Offseason Issue I

In our first in a series of roundtable discussions, we address the Super Bowl loss to the Giants, The NFL Draft, the Patriots biggest need and the top story from the offseason.

updated 5/12/2008 11:00pm

1) What was the main reason the Pats lost in the Super Bowl?
LoVell Parkman: The horrendously horrible play of the offensive line. Brady had no time to throw or find his receivers or check down. The other reason was play calling and coaching.

Shane Leketa: I think shock value was the major reason. I don't really think they were prepared at all against a defensive attack like the Giants had for them in the show. Steve Spagnuolo has a great defensive mind and with talent like Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan and their relentless attack, the Pats were clearly outplayed.

Kevin Saleeba: The Pats lost the Super Bowl mainly on the lack of execution at crunch time by the defensive backs. During the last Giants' scoring drive, Rodney Harrison failed to intercept a pass in the left flat that would have been an easy touchdown the other way, not to mention ending the game. Harrison also failed to knock away that Hail Mary pass to David Tyree that set up the go-ahead score. Both Asante Samuel and Brandon Meriweather let sure interception slip through their fingers during that drive as well.

Jim Poore: There are three reasons: poor offensive line, play calling and arrogance. The Patriots offensive line was like turnstiles the entire game, and they couldn't block anybody. The play calling was bad in the fourth quarter, as they had plenty of time at the end of the game to put a drive together, and instead decided to throw deep to Randy Moss. And, quite simply, they were very arrogant thinking they were going to win the game easily. Obviously, that wasn't the case.

Jon Scott: Failure to adjust quick enough. Arguably the biggest threat to the Patriots was the final stretch of games heading into the postseason. Each opponent came ever-closer to knocking off the undefeated team. The Giants were one of those. Good fortune allowed the Giants to meet up with the Patriots only a few weeks later in Arizona, with a book full of what "we need to change to beat them" notes. I think the Giants learned where to exploit the Patriots, and New England was too slow to react to the pressure. It would be to easy to blame any one person or unit. A lot of luck, and some good plays helped the Giants to victory. Hats off to them.


2) Have you watched highlights, or a tape of the game since?
Parkman: Yes I have, especially the final two drives of the Patriots and the winning drive by the Giants. I am convinced although the Giants did win the game (hats off to them)as bad as the Patriots played they lost it more in their final drive as well as the Giants final drive.

Leketa: I actually did because I had to review where the gaps and holes might have been, if any, on the offensive line. It was an area of concern when I saw Tom Brady getting lit up like a Christmas tree. I think after reviewing the game once, I have come to a conclusion of the following: This offensive line was one of the best in the game all year and this game was a anomaly and if they can stay healthy will be of the same caliber this year.

Saleeba: I cannot bring myself to watch that game. I consider it to be the worst loss in the history of the franchise. The Patriots had a historic victory staring them in the face and they simply choked it away. It's hard to watch. I'd rather see a nature fill of a lion ripping the gory insides out of a dead gazelle on the desert plains of Africa. The Giants played well, but were not the better team. The Patriots beat themselves and could not make a play when the game was on the line. And yes, I have major sour grapes!

Poore: I have not watched any highlights except for the sports shows after the game. I really have no desires to actually. If I saw them on and I was flipping through the channels I would probably stop to watch, but that is it. The game is over, they lost, and we move on from there. The outcome isn't going to change.

Scott: I had to watch the game again for purposes of post game articles. One thing I noticed was the Giants amazing resiliency even wen they fell behind late in the game. It was a close game, but I wouldn't call it a great game. If your definition as an anti-Patriot fan is to say any game they lose is great, then you've missed a lot of amazing football. I have heard from hundreds of fans who still can't watch the game, even months later. I understand their suffering.

3) Did the Patriots address their needs in the Draft?
Parkman: The Patriots addressed the two main needs, Linebackers and Cornerbacks. The Mayo pick I called and liked. The cornerbacks the picked were all reaches and could have been available with their later picks. They could made a couple of moves (trade) and gotten better cornerback and linebacker prospects and still had the players they reached

Leketa: I absolutely and 100% think that they addressed their concerns with the draft, more so than any other year in the past. They have always seemed to go with the talent of the player versus the needs of the team. But this year it was such a large concern with age, injury and departures being on the forefront of all of the fans and players minds. The biggest part that I love is the fact that they went with "blue collar" players who will fit the "team" mold rather than the "superstar big ticket".

Saleeba: Whether their "needs" have been filled will be the question mark going into training camp. They did need to get younger at linebacker, especially middle linebacker, and they made a step in that direction with their first pick of Jerod Mayo. We'll see if he cuts the mustard! (I know, gratuitous pun. I couldn't resist.)

Poore: The Patriots ALWAYS address their needs in the draft. However, whether they work out is another story entirely. Their draft picks the last couple of years really haven't been anything special. Apparently they like the look of Jerod Mayo and they think he will fit right in. As always, it is tough to tell how the draft picks work out until a couple of years after they were drafted, so I guess time will tell.

Scott: I think there are some concerns on the team that could have -- and probably should have -- been addressed through the Draft and weren't. A future offensive starter on the line is a concern. Not to knock the current starters, but the team has little in the pipeline for future starters. I understand the picks through the first four rounds with the exception of quarterback Kevin O'Connell. Unless a move is coming with Matt Cassel, the O'Connell pick could have been used better. For the most part, they did fill their needs on defense.

4) What was the Patriots biggest off-season concern (personnel)?
Parkman: Offensive coordinator. Josh McDaniels is above his head. That’s my main concern. He cannot adjust to what the defense is doing. Getting a run stuffing nose tackle to spell Wilfork and play beside him in goal line situations is what should be addressed before training camp in July. The health of running back Sammie Morris is a concern as well.

Leketa: Well, I know that I cannot single it out to one need well; I guess I could sum it up with one word. Defense. Yeah, that about sums it up. If it weren't for the amazing defensive line that they Patriots have, this defense was worse than a slice of Swiss cheese in the holes and pits it had after the end of the season. Again, aging linebackers, departures of secondary players, and health are major areas of concern. This was clearly evident with Belichick and Pioli drafted LBs, CBs, FSs and QB this year. Yes QB, interesting move right? Wrong. This is a dire need for this team. Matt Cassel has panned out to be a sub par backup in the small amount of time we have had to see him play so, give them something to play for.

Saleeba: Besides getting younger and quicker on defense, the Patriots biggest concern will be filling the void left with the departure of Rosy Colvin at outside linebacker and Asante Samuel at corner. Adalius Thomas proved to be ineffective at outside linebacker last season when Colvin went down with an injury. A team replacing a shutdown corner like Samuel, despite his Bill Buckner like gaffe in the Super Bowl, is always a tall task for any team.

Poore: Their biggest offseason concern was getting Randy Moss signed, though as always they were trying to do it as cheap as possible. There were rumors he was looking elsewhere which should also come as no surprise. They also needed to address the cornerback situation, as they refused to resign Asante Samuel. I can understand why they did not want him back. He was only one of the league leaders in interceptions the past two years. Instead, they chose to sign some career back up cornerbacks to fill the void. And, as before, it won't work.

Scott: I think the free agency issue was a concern and finding replacements for the guys who may -- or did-- depart. Randy Moss was re-signed, but Donte Stallworth was not. Tedy Bruschi returns, but the jury is still out on Junior Seau. Adding Hobson, Mayo, Crable and a host of young LBs was a good move. The departures of Asante Samuel, Randall Gay and Eugene Wilson were perhaps teh most important. Signing Fernando Bryant, Jason Webster, Lewis Sanders and drafting Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite should address the issue. We'll just have to see in camp if they managed to repleace the guys who left. I think they did.

5) Biggest off-season story (any team)?
Parkman: The end (hopefully) of spygate. This has gone on too far and too long. A conclusion is long overdue so the NFL can get back to what's on the field. The fact that Spector still wants to interview Matt Walsh when he has this little problem that was also video taped of police officers in Philadelphia beating down suspects is ridiculous and pathetic. I see where his twisted priorities are.

Leketa: Well, I really don't want to say spygate because it rings in my ears like a heavy metal record skipping the same riff over and over. I am so over it but it is the biggest story on every national media outlet. If I have to put a label on another story, it might be the Vick story and how a star gone awry. How the city of Atlanta would worship and cherish this guy like a member of their own family and he ruins it all by making bad decisions. It is such a shame.

Saleeba: The biggest (non-) story that seems to not go away is the ridiculous Spy-Gate saga. Why this is a story baffles me. When I first heard about the taping incident after the first game of last season, I distinctly remember shrugging my shoulders and saying "Who cares!" I guess people who hate Belichick and the way the Patriots deal with people and treat the media, care. The Patriots proved, when push came to shove last season, they (especially Belichick and the media relations group) proved to be a public relations disaster. They need to work on their people skills more.

Poore: The Cowboys signing Pacman Jones to a contract. I think it is a sad state of affairs in the NFL when a team wants to sign this repeat offender to any contract, let alone a four year deal. Let us not forget that the Patriots were supposedly very interested in Pacman, which should really put into question the morals their moral reasoning. The Patriots seem to want to win at any cost now, regardless of what is said from the organization. They obviously did not sign him, but just having an interest in him makes me disappoints me even more.

Scott: The ridiculous pursuit of Pacman Jones. How many times was Jones connected to New England? Was it more of the Patriots' interest or Jones' camp trying to drum up competition? Only they really know. Where will Pacman land had to be more closely followed than even I'd like to admit.

The Patriots Insider roundtable consists of a group of longtime contributors to the website. We will host roundtable discussions on the boards at, on the Patriots Insider Radio show, and through these roundtable Q&A articles. If you have a question you would like the group to address, be sure to send it in HERE: Email Patriots Insider We will choose a number of fan questions to answer in each roundtable.

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